Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Was Lucky...

to score above average on my pharmaceutical chemistry exam! It was mostly luck that I knew all the structures being tested, didn't make a mistake on the things that I did know, totally derived the pKa equation out of my understanding of basic chemistry and blanking out on only one question out of the whole test. I did study quite a lot before the exam and felt that I had a pretty good handle on things, but a lot of materials were covered in class prior to the midterm. The test, like most, could not truly reflect what a student really knows. Although I did pretty well on it, it does not mean that I know more than someone who has a lower grade on that exam. It just means that I had a good day and everything went my way.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Study Break

After a whole day of hiding in my room, I decided that I should reward myself with a very pleasant activity: jogging along Ocean Beach during sunset! When I got there, the huge round orange sun was sinking, from my car, I observed as it dipped below the horizon. The chill almost prevented me from getting out of the car, but I figured I needed to get some more oxygen in my muscle and brain, as well as putting some "stress" in my body so the glucagon and epinephrine can kick in for some glycolysis and lypolysis.

I really wanted to be right beside the water. Instead, I used gravity as an excuse to take the lighter workout by jogging on the sidewalk along the Great Highway. After a while, I was thinking to myself: "This sucks! I don't want to smell the smog from all these cars and hear their loud noise!" So, I bravely headed to the shore and was so glad that I did.

Since I was quite a distance south of Judah (the Muni stop), there was not anyone by the beach, and I had it all to myself. Although my leg muscles were sore from the over-production of lactic acid, the soothing sound of the waves, the pastel-colored sky and the endless ocean completely satified my soul with the fuel that I will need for another long study session.

Intellectual Development

After four weeks of trying, the pressure of exams (I have three midterms next week!) has finally molded me into a very good student. My daily routines now consist of eating, going to classes, reviewing notes, reading and reading. Of course, I take a break here and then, but most of the time, I'm glued to the study desk in my room when I'm not in class.

It sounds pretty boring, but I rather enjoy it. In a way, I feel so lucky to have the means to put education before everything else at this stage in life. I don't have to worry about money (at least not right now...I'll worry about repaying my loans later), kids, dramas, etc. Having the time to devote solely to learning about the human body and pharmaceutical products is such a previlege. Although I do not like exams, I must say that they have pushed my persistence in the pursue of knowledge to a whole different level! Without them, I don't think I can sustain reading and studying for over twenty minutes at a time. Hooray to good old exams! Hmm...maybe your won't hear me say that when I get my scores back next week!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More Butterflies

After an afternoon of frustration trying to study and not being very successful at it, I decided to take advantage of the free admission day at the Flower Conservatory and see the winged beauties at the Butterfly Zone before the exhibit ends on November 2.

I had a very relaxing hour clicking on my Canon 40D with the macro EF 100mm 1:2.8 lens. Although I was only able to use the tripod as a monopod (facility restriction), the images turned out really great. These are the three pictures that I really like.

While taking pictures, I met another amature with almost the same camera as mine. We started to talk about how the stripes of the zebra butterfly looks white instead of yellow in the picture. He told me a little bit about using RAW format instead of JPEG so I could preserve the real colors in my subjects. It all sounded good but I don't really have the time to edit the image after shooting. Besides, RAW files will take so much more memory, something that I am not really looking forward to dealing with right now. Therefore, I am sticking with JPEGs for a while.

A little bit into our conversation, he started offering his lenses so I could try using them (his backpack was full of lenses, used ones that he bought from other photography enthusiasts). I felt kind of bad holding his camera to try out the lens that he claims to be "a very good lens," but I didn't want to offend him by not taking his offer. I wonder if, someday, I will become as generous with my photo equipment as he was. As of now, no one is touching my "baby." I was even reluctant to lend it to my dad! Talking about obsession!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I was so sure...

that I got 100% on my first midterm exam in pharmacokinetics (PK)! I found out my the grades a few hours after the exam and learned that my it was at the bottom of the totem pole again. Most of my classmates got an A but I didn't. I still don't know what I did wrong (b/c I didn't care to pick up my exam). I thought I had the strategies and logic down for figuring out the half-life and concentration of a drug at anytime during an IV infusion. I guess I was wrong.

I was shocked...and then disappointed...for a while. Then I realized that I had done my best to study for the exam. I read and tried to understand the materials as much as I could. That's all I can ask for of myself right now. Something is not clicking and I see it as a confirmation that PK is really not my thing. It's so sad that this seems to be the easiest class out of the five that I have this quarter. Physiology, pharmacology and pharmaceutical chemistry exams are next week and I am barely going over the first week's lecture notes and reading materials for all of those subjects. As much as I enjoy learning about prostaglandins, hormones, and NSAIDs, I just can't keep up!